Ibanez GAX70

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HNB
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Ibanez GAX70

Post by HNB » Tue Jul 17, 2018 4:08 pm

I got this guitar on Reverb to mess with. I read that Ibanez necks are slightly wider, and with my big hands, I wanted to give them a try. It came with a big vinyl racing strip on the front.

Image1 by Christopher Louck, on Flickr

When it came in last night, I gave it a try. The stock pickups weren't bad. The heat from shipping was causing the stickers to peel back. The stock tom had three saddles filed too much so the strings were sitting too low. I also noticed there was too much relief. When adjusting the relief I saw that the nut wasn't up against the fretboard. There was a small gap. I was pretty bummed out and went to bed. for $90 it wasn't worth sending it back. I figured I would mess with it today.

I went to work taking the old pickups off. Once those were off and the bridge and stop tail, I peeled the stickers off. They came off pretty clean and easy. When I removed the strings, the nut just fell off. It had paper glued under it. I used goo gone and took that off and cleaned up the wood area where it goes. In a strange way, I was happy that there was paper under the nut that I could take off because the strings were sitting too high. I found a different TOM bridge that was pretty much new and swapped it in. I still had the DiMarzio PAF and Norton pickup set and put that on it with some cream rings. Added strap locks and put it all back together. :) I think it looks way better and sounds 1,000% better. The nut is now flush against the fretboard which helped the action and the new bridge made the string heights better. Plays like a completely different guitar. Went from a buyer remorse situation to a "wow this is pretty cool!" situation. :)

Image20180717_152533 by Christopher Louck, on Flickr

Image20180717_152558 by Christopher Louck, on Flickr

Image20180717_152631 by Christopher Louck, on Flickr

Image20180717_152619 by Christopher Louck, on Flickr
[Christopher]
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.

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Re: Ibanez GAX70

Post by the_devils_tool » Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:06 pm

How are you feeling about the neck? Wide and flat, right?
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HNB
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Re: Ibanez GAX70

Post by HNB » Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:39 pm

Wide and thick is how I feel it is. Wide and flat makes me think of old Univox necks. Those are probably my favorites. I like Japanese necks. :)
[Christopher]
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.

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Re: Ibanez GAX70

Post by sirspens » Tue Jul 17, 2018 8:40 pm

I had one of these for a while. For a $90 guitar (about what I got mine for, as well), they actually sound pretty damn good. The stock humbuckers are surprisingly bright and "uncompressed" as compared to most. I'm guessing they are ceramic magnets.

I ended up parting with mine because of the neck, traded it for a Hofner Colorama.

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Re: Ibanez GAX70

Post by the_devils_tool » Wed Jul 18, 2018 4:19 pm

Ibanez guitars suffer from an "overseas" reputation but the build quality on them IMO is always pretty solid. Always fun buying a project and ending up liking it! LOL
Twang, Reverb, and Echo - it's where it's AT!

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Re: Ibanez GAX70

Post by HNB » Wed Jul 18, 2018 4:25 pm

I think this is pretty nice. Fretwork feels good on the edges, the strings are centered, the TOM is solid, the nut isn't bad (aside from it coming unglued, but that isn't likely how it was when it was brand new), and the tuners aren't terrible and are easy to replace. (Unlike those trapezoid kind on some of the Squiers....) I think it is a really solid guitar.
[Christopher]
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Re: Ibanez GAX70

Post by SAVEStheDAY » Thu Jul 19, 2018 6:51 pm

The guitarist in my old band had a couple AX-120's back in the day (The day being from like 2000-2004). In general they were both solid and easy to maintain through years of practices, shows, and tours. They were not treated well! Eventually the neck started to go on one; the binding and fretboard started to separate before a show in Boston. We stopped at a hardware store and I was able to save it. Luckily he had his backup AX-120 for the show!

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Re: Ibanez GAX70

Post by rank » Sat Jul 28, 2018 7:45 am

I've become slightly obsessed with Omar Rodriguez-Lopez's Ibanez AX120 but I think it may be a one off. It is the natural wood, single bridge pickup one he played for a while. I've looked for one like it for a while to no avail. If I could find a single pickup one I could always strip it but I think I'm out of luck.
We are merely moving shadows-PS. 39:4-7

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Re: Ibanez GAX70

Post by somanytoys » Thu Jul 11, 2019 10:47 am

I know this thread is kind of dead, but I have one of these that I had bought for my daughter for about $90 at GC years ago, and put like 11's on it so she could just bash the strings (like kids will do until they learn to play), but she never learned to play and it just sat around for years.

I use it as a travel guitar now, because for that price, I wouldn't be that upset if it got stolen. I brought it to GC a year or so ago, and had it set up with 9's, thinking it's so small that it should play pretty well with those, even though I'm solidly a 10's player. It played okay for a while, but either the nut is too high or the neck has shifted after the setup or something, but it doesn't play as well anymore. And on top of that, the pickup switch broke, I think while it was in the soft case.

I've been on the fence on whether or not to do some things to improve this guitar, if it would make it better and if it would be worth it in the end, considering the cost of the guitar. I mean, the setup at GC alone was about half about what the guitar cost... It's kind of amazing, there are some guitars that just suck, and you realize quickly that you can't polish a turd. Other ones, like I kind of thought this one might be, are made cheaply by the mfr but actually become decent guitars once you start replacing some of the things with better quality ones, kind of like some amps with tubes & speakers.

After reading this thread, I may go ahead and invest some money into fixing it up, now that someone else has had a good experience with it after fixing it up. I don't have much experience with working on guitars, so I'd probably get someone else to do most of the work. The pickups seem to squelch, I thought it was a pedal until I tried another guitar through the pedal, and everything was fine. I usually don't play too loudly when I travel, but that's just irritating. I don't have other pickups to replace them with, but I'll probably spend the money to buy some better ones, get a better nut and get the pickup switch replaced. All of the other Ibanez guitars and basses that I have all have great pickups (even though one was replaced with what looks to be a DiMarzio 30 years ago), so I thought that was strange, but then I thought about the fact that this entire guitar is cheaper than a lot of good pickups are. I may also need to look into a new bridge. I think the parts alone are going to be more than the guitar cost me, but if this becomes a pretty decent guitar, I'll be really happy.

Thanks for posting the thread, great info that pushed me over the fence.
-David

It's a boost booster, to boost your boost - it makes your tone much muchier.

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Re: Ibanez GAX70

Post by jvin248 » Thu Jul 11, 2019 11:23 am

.

Those are fine guitars to play.

Setup is important.

If you want to swap pickups, I'd buy a set of these, I find I like them a lot better than the typical recommended big aftermarket brand (due to lower internal capacitance, much more clear and less muddy).
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Zebra-Double-C ... 2395320209

Buy a set of Bourns pots (just the volume pots to keep your cost down), switchcraft switch, switchcraft jack, and put 0.033uF tone caps in there. These parts will make the controls and plugging-in feel like and be as durable as the $3k+ guitars they normally get put in .. for often less than $20.

Shield the cavity with Nashua aluminum flashing tape ($7/roll at the hardware), which can be an improvement over grounding paint that may or may not be in there.

Then you'll have a good player and a good sounding player -- without spending a lot.

I have a used Epiphone Special Junior that I did all the above to and it gets played way more than the big price guitars in the fleet because it's easy to play and sounds great.

.

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Re: Ibanez GAX70

Post by HNB » Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:41 pm

I am glad that you are thinking of updating the things you feel need updating. I still have this guitar. I still like it. Plenty of people use and enjoy less expensive guitars. There really isn't anything wrong with it. I don't feel like you always get what you paid for. I have some $2,000 guitars and some $50 guitars. I probably play the $50 ones more often. :)
[Christopher]
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.

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Re: Ibanez GAX70

Post by Danley » Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:52 pm

HNB wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:41 pm
I am glad that you are thinking of updating the things you feel need updating. I still have this guitar. I still like it. Plenty of people use and enjoy less expensive guitars. There really isn't anything wrong with it. I don't feel like you always get what you paid for. I have some $2,000 guitars and some $50 guitars. I probably play the $50 ones more often. :)
All honesty - my expensive guitars are the ones I become afraid to touch, 'only use when it matters' etc. I am most likely to be seen playing a Squier, and Squiers work :D

Also - I know people will tend to say "upgrade the pots/tuners/shield the guitar" first, but I've never really understood it. As long as the pots aren't way off value-wise, pots are pretty much pots to me if they work at all (and ok - even if they are way off of 250k/500k whatever, that's not something that typically bothers me in my playing.) I've *never* run into a set of modern tuners that didn't at least keep tune (though the cheap diamond tuners feel like crap, they do keep tune in my hands and anything better is pretty much the same to me.) Shielding barely matters if the guitar has humbuckers; I think a lot of this stuff is just what sub-consciously bothers people, which doesn't mean it isn't ok to do those things- just doesn't bother me.

On the other hand,things that *do* bother me about cheap guitars are usually immutable and not a soldering iron sort of fix. But I agree - Setup/feel and ergonomics are most important, so I'll spend more time polishing the frets/oiling the rosewood etc. to get a cheap guitar playing the way I want; unless there's a specific/unusual set I want to try, I even think I'm pretty much over swapping pickups for the sake of it. No good or bad, only 'different' there.
King Buzzo: I love when people come up to me and say “Your guitar sound was better on Stoner Witch, when you used a Les Paul. “...I used a Fender Mustang reissue on that, dumbass!

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Re: Ibanez GAX70

Post by HNB » Thu Jul 11, 2019 10:21 pm

I don't overly fret about pots or types of capacitors. I know some people say the expensive ones sound better and such, but I tend to replace stuff if there is a problem over just to put more expensive ones in. I often buy nice cts or alpha pots when I do a new build or if I gut a guitars electronics, but I have stock cheap guitars that have no issues pot wise. I stopped buying orange drop caps for guitars and tend to use ceramic ones and I don't notice a difference sound wise. Caps are caps. The different values of them chance sound but I don't really notice a sonic difference with the materials they are made from.
[Christopher]
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.

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Re: Ibanez GAX70

Post by somanytoys » Mon Jul 15, 2019 9:44 am

Thanks for all of the info. I think I'm going to change the nut first, that and changing the strings to 10s should help with the weird string feel and tuning problems. I'll also buy some pickups and pots, not sure about the pickups but something is going on with the pickups/pots/wiring.

I may end up getting a new tailpiece as well down the road, but it would be nice to make this guitar worth playing, because right now it isn't. The neck seems a little small/short, but hopefully I can get past that with a new nut and heavier strings.
-David

It's a boost booster, to boost your boost - it makes your tone much muchier.

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Re: Ibanez GAX70

Post by somanytoys » Tue Jul 30, 2019 3:21 pm

I bought a set of the dirty fingers type pickups listed above. They were cheap but look like they’re good. As long as they don’t sound or work any worse than the old ones I’ll be happy.

I’m going to get some cream rings like HBN’s for those pickups. I’m thinking that those housing the dirty fingers, the cream neck binding and a bone nut would look cool against the gray/silver metallic sparkle body and the all black hardware that mine has. Maybe a cream cap for the pickup switch...

Looking forward to making this a nice guitar for its price.
Just hope I don’t become afraid to travel with it...
-David

It's a boost booster, to boost your boost - it makes your tone much muchier.

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